Spring break isn’t just for hordes of rowdy college kids and fun-loving families anymore. Increasingly, outfitters are upping the ante – and, often, slashing prices – with warm-weather tours and off-the-beaten-path offerings that target 20-, 30-, and 40-something sojourners who are, more often than not, looking for a trip that leans toward adventurous instead of ordinary.
Here, a roundup of some of the most enticing deals and destinations to boost you from the last vestiges of winter.
Affordable Amazon River Cruise: With ocean cruising (deservedly) suffering a wave of bad press as of late, why not get on deck with a river cruise? Adventure Life is offering a helluva deal on its May 4 Amazon River cruise departure: a two-for-one offer of just $3,250 for the eight-day cruise, including accommodations, guided excursions, and meals (but not airfare to Manaus, Brazil, where the cruise disembarks).
The itinerary includes afternoon swims in the river, nocturnal wildlife walks in the rainforest, and a walkabout through a boat-building village. While onboard the Tucano, keep your eyes peeled for exotic wildlife such as pink river dolphins, howler monkeys, and toucans.
A Culinary Journey in Playa del Carmen, Mexico: In this tropical paradise of the Riviera Maya, all the 2012 doomsday theories about the end of the Maya long-count calendar are being replaced by the buzz over the destination’s steadily rising status as a culinary hotspot. While sunburned spring breakers guzzle tequila and gorge on American chain fare in nearby Cancun, travelers with more sophisticated and adventurous tastes are flocking to Playa, as the locals call it, for upscale takes on local cuisine.
New restaurants by luminaries such as Enrique Olvera, whose Pujol in Mexico City is regarded as one of the finest in the country, and a growing emphasis on neighborhood hotspots and regional cuisine have put the area, long known for its pristine beaches, into the culinary spotlight. Need more evidence? The region’s second-annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, currently underway, has sold out many of its events. But the foodie culture, which is refreshingly unpretentious (at least, currently) happily thrives throughout spring and the rest of the year.
Spring Skiing and Shenanigans: Not quite ready to put away the skis for the season, but craving warmer temps? California ski resorts Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, which joined forces in 2012, hit the sweet spot of spring weather and ski culture, with a snowy March (two feet already) and several signature, off-the-wall events.
On March 23, Squaw’s Retro Ski Day, intrepid skiers and boarders barrel down the slopes and attempt the Lake Cushing Crossing – in other words, schussing across a frozen pond. Other quirky happenings include the 30th anniversary of the 9-hole Snow Golf tournament that takes place on the slopes, bikini skiing, hula hoop contests, and other normal events at the beloved-by-locals Ice Bar – known for its bratwursts, beer, and barbecue, on the backside of Alpine Meadows.
And fortunately, rates at Lake Tahoe aren’t too far off the mark from your broke-ass collegiate days: Book between March 23 and April 28, and you’ll receive two pool access tickets, two-day lift tickets and lodging with rates starting at $118 per person/per night.
What’s your ideal spring break activity?
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